When beginning the abstract collection process, one of the most important components to the project management is developing a strategy that allows you to develop solutions in real time. Traditionally, with SaaS, customers participate in a robust on-boarding process but are then left to rely on customer support once they begin using the software. Customer support is vital to project success on any software platform–but it also may not be enough. Agile project management offers a solution to manage teams across platforms virtually and in-person.
Agile Project Management Explained
What is agile project management? An iterative development methodology, agile workflows prioritize communication and feedback in order to make more informed changes rapidly and efficiently. While there are clear deadlines and deliverables for any major submissions campaign, concurrent non-linear workflows are common when creating structures around those same collection processes and event planning. For instance, you may communicate to your reviewers that their feedback is due on a certain date (linear), while simultaneously running multiple communication chains to separate and overlapping groups of these reviewers depending on your asks of them (non-linear).
During the build-out of any customizable collection software, it’s common to have questions and request changes once your organization has tested and tried the software. Finding solutions in real-time instead of relying on solutions after major problems arise is guaranteed to create a more manageable project for all stakeholders.
How a Dedicated Project Manager Creates Agile Workflows
Dedicated project managers are vital to helping your organization iterate quickly without losing vital time and money waiting to resolve issues that may arise with a customer support representative whose sole job is to troubleshoot after hitting a bottleneck.
Say, for example, you are leading a large-scale call for submissions to an international medical conference. Your organization specifically wants to create a scoring system that weights certain criteria more than others. You also want to be able to group submissions by score and topic. If you work with a customizable collection software provider, you most likely will provide these specs in advance, they will build the software, and then deliver you the SaaS you requested.
Fast forward to when you start the collection process–suddenly, you realize you should have added more fields and your scoring parameters were too limited. Now what? You get on the phone with customer support, but they can only help you with the software they delivered.
Even if you use agile project management tools like Asana or Monday, you still can only do so much if you weren’t prepared with a knowledgeable team member from the beginning. However, if you worked with a dedicated project manager during the build process, he or she would have most likely anticipated your issues. In addition, any feature that you were unsure of adding or removing could have been tested beforehand, not tested on your participants. As the project manager gets to know your organization’s specific needs and asks, he or she can also better point you in the right direction.
Why Customer Support is Necessary–But Not Enough
Reducing complexity is the #1 reason organizations seek out collection software services. And while many award and abstract management SaaS are capable of streamlining the project management, the wrong software can be disastrous to the planning and execution of any major campaign.
Customer support is great for technical questions and troubleshooting; however, it’s not great at anticipating questions or finding solutions before problems arise. Working with a person who is an extension of your team and who intimately knows your project allows your organization to focus and organize without chaos.
Creating intuitive software requires human communication across all stages of the software creation, on-boarding, and application. In addition, as organizations continue to use collection software to manage their submissions and events, the needs and goals may also change from year-to-year. Having the assurance that a project manager knows your organization and industry is critical to scaling your events from year-to-year.